Friday, June 14, 2024

No Second Term: Why Rupiah Banda’s Bid For Presidency is bad for Zambia’s Democracy


rupiahBy Michael Chishala

Former Republican President Rupiah Bwezani Banda has been playing a careful game of Hide-And-Seek with the Zambian electorate the last year or so. Despite repeated attempts to get him to commit one way or the other, he has neither confirmed nor denied assertions that he wishes to return to active politics, Kenneth Kaunda style.

Despite his best efforts to conceal his intentions, it is pretty obvious by now that he definitely intends to stand on the Movement for Multiparty Democracy ticket and has been sending attack dogs to pave the way for him. If he was a little more sincere, he would have laid to rest any speculations by giving a comprehensive interview on TV. The last time a statement was attributed to him by The Post Newspapers suggesting that he is not interested in a come-back, he was quick to deny it through his administrative assistant.

Just as former president Dr Kenneth Kaunda did, Mr Banda is using “the people” as his basis to go for a Second Term. To paraphrase slightly the words of Dr Kaunda, Mr Banda is effectively saying “Who am I to refuse the will of the people?” Well, you are an independent minded person who cannot be forced to do something you do not agree with. You can easily be like the great statesman Nelson Mandela who refused a Second Term despite thousands of people urging him to do so.

Just like former President Frederick Chiluba’s Third Term bid was bad for Zambia’s democracy, Mr Banda’s Second Term bid is inappropriate and a disaster in waiting both for Zambia and the MMD for many reasons (some discussed by others) and I hereby outline a few of them as follows:

1. A strong opposition is necessary for good governance. The weaker the opposition, the more tyrannical a government becomes. This is why the One Party State under UNIP was so grievous and so disastrous because it made it impossible for the mistakes of government to be corrected. If Mr Banda stands on an MMD ticket, he shall trigger a vicious power struggle in MMD that shall do serious (possibly permanent) damage to Zambia’s democracy by diminishing the strength of the largest opposition party. Whoever wins, it shall be a Pyrrhic victory (According to Wikipedia, “The phrase ‘Pyrrhic victory’ is named after Greek King Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose army suffered irreplaceable casualties in defeating the Romans at Heraclea in 280 BC and Asculum in 279 BC during the Pyrrhic War”).

2. Mrs Thandiwe Banda was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and has been in South Africa on chemotherapy treatement for two months. She still has at least two months to go and her survival is not guaranteed. How can Mr Banda go around the country campaigning while his wife is seriously ill in hospital? What if she passes away while Mr Banda is on the campaign trail trading insults with younger candidates? Mr Banda nursed his first wife until her death (also to cancer) and it is just proper and humane for him to likewise be by Thandiwe’s side, not going out engaging in mud-slinging on the campaign trail.

3. Mr Banda is 77 years old. Maintaining an old president is very costly as recent events demonstrated. Having a sick wife makes things far worse. Do Zambians really want a president who shall spend half his time with medical personnel while his ministers lie with a straight face that he is chairing cabinet meetings or jogging in London? Mr Banda sought medical attention for his knee when he was president. Zambians are tired of sick old men leading us and this election shall be for under-60 candidates. It should be noted that the average age of an African president is higher than any other region in the world.

4. Mr Banda was already rejected in the 2011 elections despite conducting the most expensive election campaign in history in which sweets were printed with his face on them. MMD accelerated their decline under his divisive leadership. Despite all the millions of Dollars in donations to MMD for the campaign in 2011, the party was bankrupt when the new president Dr Nevers Mumba took over in May 2012. The party was so broke in 2012 that they had trouble paying the K400,000 bill that the then Registrar of Societies Clement Andeleki slapped on them. Where did the money in the party coffers go? This issue shall haunt the MMD as accusations of financial impropriety shall resurface against Mr Banda which shall weaken the MMD (Rumour has it that donations to the party in 2011 were paid into his personal account which will not augur well with potential voters).

5. Mr Banda’s Second Term bid will discourage young people who want to get into politics as it shall perpetuate the impression that this game is only for old men who cling onto power until death, Daniel Munkombwe style.

6. Against the Patriotic Front, Mr Banda shall be an easy target for mud-slinging and all sorts of accusations. His conduct in Barotseland shall come back to haunt him and I would be surprised if he gets even 10% of the votes there.

7. Mr Banda’s Second Term bid is very likely to unite a lot of forces against the MMD, among which are the PF, The Post Newspapers who vilified him in the last election and Mr Rajan Mahtani the Finance Bank owner who had a few run ins with Mr Banda that included Bank of Zambia taking over his bank, forcing him to resign as Bank Chairman and a court case where he and lawyer John Sangwa were taken to court and charged with uttering a false document. Rumour has it that Mr Mahtani is one of the major financiers in Zambian politics.

8. Mr Banda has not been a positive force in MMD. Rather than supporting the current MMD leadership, he has kept his distance. Part of the explanation may be the court cases he is facing (which may increase if he stands), or maybe he wants the MMD leadership to fail so that he comes and takes over. Rumour has it that he has not been financially supportive of his party which has left it very weak and is harming Zambian democracy as explained earlier.

I could go on, but these reasons are sufficient to make my point that it is a very bad idea for Mr Banda to ever seek political office again. Both the MMD and Zambia shall be the biggest losers. Whoever is advising him is telling him what his itching ears want to hear. ie that he is still very popular and he is the only one who can unseat the PF. All these are myths perpetuated by people that wish to gain through jobs and contracts if he were elected as president.

The author is just an ordinary Zambian who can be contacted at: michael (at) zambia (dot) co (dot) zm


  1. Let the man decide himself and the electorate will hand the verdict.When columnists like Chisala start to decide who is fit and who’s not,it means we’re no longer a DEMOCRACY.

    • Political opinions of exclusion are anti-democracy and dangerous to the country. They are motivated by lack of self confidence, fear of competition and superficial issues devoid of constitutional grounds. RB like anyone of us is at liberty to aspire for any public office. If he can rally support of followers and mobilize resources to reconnect with voters on issues Zambians want addressed by his leadership, the spirit of democracy would be actualized.

    • We don’t want people dying in power. It’s too costly for the country. Mr. RB, please enjoy your retirement and concentrate on looking after your young precious wife who’s got cancer. You have done enough for Zambia. Just stay away from politics while you still have that little integrity with you.

    • @ Enka

      Mr. Chisala has exercised his DEMOCRATIC right to express personal opinion.
      Who are you to set perimeter of DEMOCRACY?
      Please learn the meaning of the freedom of expression before making comment contrary to said principle

    • The author has a highly opinionated mindset. Unfortunately, in a very illogical way. Who said age is a barrier to human aspirations or public affairs leadership? Human life is a borrowed life that is neither guaranteed by how young one is. Today Zambia is losing thousands of her young people than ever. I advise the author to do some research and share his statistical finding. Therefore the author should understand the aspirations of RB would in no way deter any Zambians young or old to compete him. Democracy includes the excluded and included to compete. Join the race people will decide even out of 200 candidates. At the end of the day the power of the ballot will give us a President out of this bye-election. Zambians are looking for a mature unifying leader in transition to 2016.

    • He should wait for the courts to clear him of all charges before running for the highest office. That would be the decent thing to do. Oh, and he should advice his innocent son Henry to come back home.

    • I think the UPND need a new candidate in these by-election. HH has failed too much and his rating has reduced to a single digit. Mutale Nalumango would be an ideal Candice to defeat Guy Scott.

  2. We are nascent but functional democracy. Democracy does not thrive on the opinions of exclusion but choice of the voters and constitutionality. RB is a Zambian qualified to make himself available to voters who have the power on their voter card. Who are we stop him in a democracy when he qualifies a Zambian?

    Baba just join the race and compete with him then voters will decide who carries the day.

    • Mr Senior Citizen, you have an equally highly opinionated mindset as your post shows. Why such double standards?

    • @Senior Citizen

      It is clear that you are the one who is trying to impose your own opinion here. Why don’t you just present an alternative critique of RB if you think he should run again. The author of this article is not stopping RB from running on the MMD ticket. He is merely telling us why he thinks it is a bad idea. It is a fact that RB was rejected emphatically by Zambians in 2011. It is also true that he left MMD broke. It is also true that he visited South Africa for medical treatment. Facts please! Facts please!

  3. Zambia watchdog. We know you’re sponsored by hh. Zambia is a constitutional democracy and does not provide for exclusion based on age. RB qualifies to run for Presidency. Let the voters decide and not you. HH is not winning any election in Zambia.

    • I have not seen zambian watchdog here nor have I heard HH complaining, the last time I heard UPND commenting they were saying they welcome the move though it has no repurcation with regard to there strategy.Lets be objective otherwise your hate for HH will continue giving you nightmares!!!!! viva HH.hate him or love him my family and I re giving him a vote!!!

  4. Chishala are you to decide RB’s fate, who needs your advice, shut up and keep your advise to yourself. Foolish *****.

  5. Some of you don’t get it. This is not about RB’s right to stand. We can all know he has the right. The question is whether it is a good idea. eg is it a good idea for Wynter Kabimba to stand as PF candidate in 2015? Use your brains for goodness sake!

  6. Abash old people, please go and take a rest and enjoy your retirement benefits, most Zambians don’t have retirement benefits like, RB we know you want to come and completely steal more money from our govt we won’t allow it, sorry,

    • Tony,

      Aren’t your father, mother, grandfather, and grandmother old people? Do you also abash your grandfather on account of his old age? The problem with the current misguided young generation we have in Zambia is that they seem to believe older people should be got rid – a very pernicious and dangerous form of age discrimination that has become almost fashionable among youth NGOs. Although I agree with most of Chishala’s arguments, he loses the plot when he also resorts to the bashing of older people by suggesting that only those below 60 years should aspire for political office. If older people over 60 years are so useless, can anyone explain why the average age for all the Peace Prize Laureates between 1901 and 2014 when awarded the prize is 61 years?

    • The average age for other Nobel Prize categories are as follows in brackets: Physics (55), Chemistry (58), Medicine (58), Literature (65), Economics (67). Are any of the prize winners in the youth category? Can you explain why?

  7. RB RB RB…u want to cry again…just nurse Ba mayo Ba Thandi…even though she’s a kid…she needs ur attention…we don’t need because u can steal from us…

  8. This RB does he really think Zambians are foolish and stupid, you retire and get benefits use the benefits and even govt is paying for your wife’s medical then you come back to destroy the little the country and MMD is left with, what shame, old man go and retire yourself,

  9. Well articulated article. I agree with the reasons advanced and want to add that if he won, Banda will waste so much time on a mission of vengeance. He is a very vindictive individual. I also shudder to imagine those thieving sons of his back in government corridors peddling corrupt deals for loot that they will share with him. Why can’t this shameless greedy old man just spend time with his sick young wife. Anyway we are fed up of old men running this country. By the way, Banda, you will never win & the little money you have left will all be chewed by your greedy supporters

  10. Go home RB don’t waste our time, go and care for your wife she needs you now then any other time, you said it yourself on TV, your time is gone, please go we don’t even want to hear your voice it’s time for young people, jubilee time, the old is the past, look at your friend Sata MHSIP The Lord has taken him alway, don’t dare the God.

  11. Just in case you have jumped off the bus, the ballot decides. It is called democracy. You can discourage RB, but there is a document called constitution which allows him to participate. It is not RB who has breast cancer. RB, if you are confident, healthy and ready please go for it. You are familiar with the ring, it can be ugly, it has insults, it has bribes but anyway you have been there before. I will not be voting for you myself but please you have every democratic right and no opinion of a single author or a blogger should stop you

  12. It is true Zambians easily forgot! Just imagine how different Zambia would be if there had been no mass hysteria that led to the unsuitable Ukwa being elected president in 2011! HH might be a contender but I see no one worthy of the presidency within PF or the current MMD leadership.

    • Iwe chi wa Zabanga nachi kayaula,shut ur ???? & stop dreaming about ur HH becoming a president,Zambia spoke against him in 2011 during general Election,again ur HH lacks perseverance,no patience at all,heis still in learning process he doesn’t ve what it takes to become a President,so keep on fooling itself & P.F will still retain the position believe it or not,you will again cry lamentably.

    • Iwe chi Kayaula stop dreaming even this By elections ur HH will once again be taught a political lesson,it will je a landslide victory for P.F,even those voted for ur under 5 they ve vowed to vote for P.F.

  13. All those who are against Bandas come back seem to have one thing in common and this includes Mr Chishala. They are not saying he shouldn’t contest. Instead they are saying he shouldn’t become president again. It’s like they are 100% sure that he would scoop the presidency. For me that proves that he is good enough for the job. Remember democracy can also mean influencing people to make the wrong choices like what happened in 2011. Let the people decide not just you Mr. Chishala.

  14. Are we Zambians docile? Why do we continue to entertain this giberish about RB’s bid to stand for Presidency whilst at the same time we r questioning the nationality and legitimacy of a genuine case of our Acting PreIdenct? Both of RB’s parents were Maliwians born in Malawi and the fellow was born in Malawi, the fellow was born in Malawi and went to Southern Rhodesia wth his parents where he did his primary education.

    • That’s not the issue here. According to the constitution you qualify to be president if you are Zambian by descent not were you were born. If your parents were Zambians by birth. In short you must be a second generation Zambian.

  15. It seems RB sends shivers down people’s spines. Let him stand if he wants to and the people will decide. We are sick and tired of finger pointing, undemocratic manoeuvring and smear campaigns. It seems our police, media and judisiary are strugling to keep up with impartiality. Instead of writing assumptions why don’t you go an interrogate the man and others aspiring for the presidency and then present your findings to the electorate? Zambians know who they want for president, someone who will respect and looks after the interests of this peaceful nation. Our media houses need to evolve and start getting creative. You know who the opposition leaders are so please start lining them up for scrutiny so Zambia can decide instead of setting agendas for preferred candidates.

    • There are good reasons for those shivers.
      Majority have experienced “occasional plunderer” been replaced by “institutional plunderer” been replaced by “family plunderer”.
      Been only “plunderer” available does not seem to be required qualification for next leader.

  16. Let’s put to rest this argument that it is Mr Banda’s right to stand. In 1995, it was Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s right to challenge Kebby Musokotwane for the party presidency. He did, he won but he destroyed UNIP. Zambia lost the chance to have two ideologically opposed institutional parties.

    We now have parties based on personalities with no ideology. Mr Banda’s run potentially can have the same effect on MMD that KK had on UNIP. We all accept it is his right but we are strongly advising him not to exercise his right because it is inappropriate for his family and bad for Zambia’s democracy.

    • As I stated in 9 above, you have made a very good case and Banda and his hangers on are advised to read your piece. One other dimension to Banda’s standing will be the confusion that it will add to the political landscape. We already have the current crazy situation in PF without adding another layer of confusion which could threaten the very peace we currently have. Imagine the new fights that will erupt as M’membe takes on another sworn enemy.

  17. That is your opinion Mr Chisala I don’t whether you are playing chimbuya in this, but your comments border on Red Herring. All the reasons given why Mr Banda should not come into politics are a little shallow. Mr Banda has not yet saved his term. he finished what was constitutionally believed to be Mr Mwanawasa’s term. Let Mr Banda make a decision

  18. We would not want to have a “flying” or “airbone” president. We want someone who will work like Sata. RB is known to have trampled upon Mwanawasa’s legacy. He took us in the wrong direction. Had it not been for RB taking us backwards, Zambia would have been the best country in Southern Africa. Even South Africa would have been dead scared of Zambia. In the same way, he will take us back to where he stopped in 2011. We do not want recycled presidents. There are younger Zambians who can do better.

    • are you sure about the allegations you have made? From what I know there were money in the reserves when PF took over. Because of your “hard working president” was clueless on how to run the economy we have incurred huge debts. Had PF continued on MMD’s development plans there would be some sanity in this country

  19. Yes RB has th right to stand for Presidency but is he the right man to led us again? What did he achieve during his term of office. He inherited all the policy from the late Levy. The cost of putting people to stand for presidency is not free it comes with cost to the nation and to the individual. Its true let Banda enjoy him money peacefully than waste our time. He is not the right candidate. No wonder educated people dont go for politics because everyone think can run the nation when their business have failed or can if manage their homes. The only benefit you die abroad. Hope votes wont be deceived again.

  20. RB will lose the elections and cost the MMD anthor defect, nevers is the best candidate for MMD, I will put my vote on nevers, viva the hour, nevers will be the next president of Zambia, abash old finished RB.

  21. RB is a long gone chap, please stop destroying the MMD and planning evil issues against nevers, we have a President in charge now nevers and he will be our candidate period, no nonsense, go and look after your wife.
    Nevers our republican President don’t kutain

  22. No one cares whether MMD lives or dies let alone any other party. All that is important is to let every Zambian including all those agains RBs come back, the right to exercise their democratic right to aspire to any political position.

  23. the name of this article is wrong. Lusaka times should work on their titles… If the man is given the constitutional ryt to stand let him stand. Stop making it seem like its democratically wrong for the man to stand. As long as thy people will b given a ryt to choose between RB and other candidates then it is democratic. At the end of the day democracy is bout the will of the people….

  24. RB must feel ashamed. He used call Sata Mad person. Now he wants to inherit from our “mad person”. You thought you hoodwink us from our man. We gave him the vote and you cried. It is there for all to see. So may ask, what do you want to inherit from our man since you labelled him mad through your campaign in 2008 and 2011.
    Zambians are not stupid. As you continued calling him names we continued liking more and more. Your silly daughter Dora Siliya even started mocking him with her heavily “touched body” but it didn’t work. Our Man won and has left a legacy that you now want to destroy. Please my plea just remain in retirement and we’ll build you a house. What more do you want. Please don’t take Zambians for granted.

  25. @ 5.1 MM La Grand fimo fimo

    Your question: why people are so obsessed with HH.
    Answer: HH is the most relevant politician in Zambia now. HH represents the need for new politics in Zambian today than any other.
    Points: – Young, intelligent, educated, modestly rich, well articulated with inspiration of servant hood, outstanding business profession record and speaks 4 to 5 local Zambia languages including Bemba beside being Zambian.
    That is part of reasons Zambians are obsessed with HH and tired of old politics.

    • Shut up ???? with ur HH,he can only win in Solwezi,Southern & part of western province,the last is 10% & u still expect him to win the General Elections ,stop dreaming because the people of Zambia will once again reject the under Five.

  26. I do not understand why some people are hell bent on stopping RB exercise his democratic right. What are you afraid of? It is the people that vote. Sata was rejected THREE times before he became President. RB has only been rejected ONCE. Age? What a cacophony of rubbish! Young Zambians are dying in their thousands. We have already lost younger politicians. What is the guarantee that they will not be health tourists themselves, especially if they are carrying the unspeakable virus?
    NO SIR.
    RB should do whatever he likes. People will vote FOR or AGAINST him. It is NONE of your business to tell him what to do or not to do, UNLESS of course you are scared that he will win.

    • @aeleshday , you are right that people have the right to reject Mr Banda , yes but this should be done in an election not just yupping that he shouldn’t contest. You should be telling people why they shouldn’t vote for RB if he decides to contest instead of saying why he shouldn’t contest. Makes sense?

  27. Be grateful, you chaps. The guy left your mealie meal at sate kwacha. Your exchange rate inali pa zingati? Bumper harvest was a true one with mealie meal prices stable. Importantly we did not even have the now life threatening pangas. Mwandi RB, you were a better leader. Bela kubepa!

  28. It is like some people know what is better for the other person. You find that the same people might not even have a clue of what is good even for themselves. The country was far much stable under RB than even during Levy’s time when we had energy crises and so on. You could tell that RB studied economics. Love him or hate him, the man worked. My only problem with RB was travelling all the time, otherwise the country made great strides. School is important ka. 3 years only of PF, every thing upside down. Leadership is a scarce commodity and especially in Zambia

  29. Banda’s court case is still unsolved. Just because Sata has died does not mean the case has died. He can campaign from jail for his released but not to run the country. As Chishala has stated he is 77 and its very costly to maintain an old president. He should go to South Africa and be with his wife. Poor Thandiwe.

  30. RB is being showered with free advise to stay the hell away from competing for office. He has had his time at the helm, he didn’t accomplish much for Zambian, but he personally had a lekker time drinking whisky, flying all over the world while his kids were fiddling with state business matters. Now he has a hefty state pension that guarantees all the good time he can dream of for life. At 77, please RB, go to the farm and wait for death to claim you as it will all of us. Yes you have the democratic rights to stand for president but don’t take it, just go away. People don’t want to see you crying again on TV after loosing a second time. Typical of all Ngoni people in Zambia, no NZERU, he will ignore this free and sound advise.

  31. The people who are advocating for RB not to come back into political arena are the very reason why he (RB) should try as much as possible to come back. What do they fear?. In a democracy people (electorate) decide who should and should not go to state house. Some of us think RB will do a very, very good job for the country. I have nothing to benefit personally but I think the Agric. industry will be better managed under him, a balanced economic growth not just one sided selfish development to win votes. The rural farmers are still not paid by the Panga wielding party. He left an economy with about US$US$3bn in reserve and mealie meal prices below K50 and inflation below 8%, for the same period the PF has ruled. Ask them how much is in reserve, inflation is almost 10% etc.

  32. Some of the main reasons why Banda will be the ideal candidate is because we need a transitional leader:
    1. He can only stand one term therefore his exit in 2016 is assured. No other person is in such a unique legal position.
    2. He already understands the the working of government therefore he can hit the ground running unlike a completely new president. This is important for this short tenure.
    3. He is generally popular across the country and across tribes, he is not a polarising individual
    4. Contrary to assertions that he will be vengeful he is likely to avoid mistakes he made before e.g. with his children involvement in government
    5. He made an honest attempt at giving us a new constitution , he knows why he failed and lessons learnt
    6. He is a good economic manager

    • 6.He is a good economic manager therefore our economy will be safe in the transition period
      7. His candidature can help unify the opposition in this short space of time (3 months)
      8. The key opposition leaders such as HH and Nevers do not have to lose their positions and can focus on running in 2016. Why should they fight for a 1 year first term of presidency?
      9. As a non interested party Banda can help provide a free and fair environment for the 2016 general elections by in part ensuring right people in key constitutional offices
      10. At 77 this is probably one of the unique times we need a mature experienced father figure to see us through this transition period

      PS: using Mr Banda’s wife’s illness against him is very unfortunate. We should encourage and such disclosure from…

  33. RB is a sad story. He kicked himself out of the presidency. The Zambian electorate denied him a second term, not because they hated him. It was the price he had to pay for his blunders. He does not deserve a second hearing. There is no court of appeal. Besides, at 77 years, he is simply too old to run. Zambia has had more than enough of presidents dying in office. It’s time you moved on sir. Enjoy your retirement.

  34. This is not only a stup*d article but also highly misleading for obvious reasons. Note the follo;
    1. Madam Thandiwe is not critically sick as suggested here above,
    2. RB must be allowed to exercise his democratic right,
    3. RB being rejected in the 2011 elections, yes but the 2011 defeat of ) was not genuine as it was based on deceit, malicious and to some extent Rigged as indicated by Winter Kabimba,
    4 ) being old

  35. If you’re above 65 years,then pliz wind time with your family and exempt yourself from running for President of the republic of Zambia.

  36. This is absolutely nonsense. Mr Banda is not seeking a forbidden and constitutionally wrong 3 rd term. He is seeking a second term and he has every right to do so even though I don’t support him. Let those who are no barred by constitution express their right. MMD will not win Never Mumba and it is actually in their interest to let him run. But I personally think HH be given a chance.

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